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Highly Accessed Open Badges Commentary

Airway management disasters in the ICU - lessons learned?

Christian Byhahn1* and Erol Cavus2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Anesthesiology, Intensive Care Medicine, and Pain Therapy, JW Goethe-University Medical School, Frankfurt, Germany

2 Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Kiel, Germany

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Critical Care 2012, 16:162  doi:10.1186/cc11641

See related research by Noppens et al.,

Published: 29 October 2012


The C-MAC video laryngoscope substantially reduced poor glottic views and increased intubation success in ICU patients with at least one predictor for difficult intubation. However, all video-assisted and optical intubation devices have different view angles, thus producing different images with particular distortion, and even experts in 'old-fashioned' airway management need a substantial level of training with a certain device before using it safely and successfully in critical situations and patients. Video laryngoscopes, regardless of a particular brand or device, cannot be used intuitively - they require expert skills and routines to be turned into a life-saving airway management tool.